Members of the European Union's various committees vote this week on whether to make changes to the EU Directive on cross border healthcare. The Directive aims to provide a framework for patient mobility, whereby patients in one member state will have the right to treatment in another state.
The UK's General Medical Council (GMC), which regulates the country's 230,000 doctors, is running a lobbying campaign to protect Britons seeking healthcare in Europe from what it describes as "dangerous" doctors. the GMC wants the new EU laws to give patients access to the disciplinary history of incompetent clinicians.
Quoted in the Guardian, Paul Philip, the GMC's deputy chief executive says:"The vast majority of doctors do a very good job under very difficult circumstances. However, when UK patients travel to mainland Europe, there is a risk they could be treated by a doctor who is not fit to practise or not fully qualified to give the required treatment."
UK patients have full access to GMC records and are able to check whether a doctor has been disciplined, or is the subject of a disciplinary hearing. The GMC wants doctor organisations in other countries to provide similar patient access to information about their doctors.
In the first 9 months of 2008, the UK NHS paid for over 500 British patients to have treatment elsewhere in Europe. Some patients were also funded by their primary care trusts. It is estimated that another 80,000 Britons funded their own treatment overseas.
Date published: 10 Mar 2009
Comments provided below do not represent the views of IMTJ. Comments will be published 'as is' and will not be edited by IMTJ staff. IMTJ is hosting these comments, and is not undertaking an editorial role. However, it is editorial policy to publish comments that have been submitted anonymously.